For a few days I’ve been sort of stewing over something I need to get off my chest in what I hope is a positive way.
Fellow Parents, I realize all of us are busy adults. We are managing more noise than our parents ever had to, are barraged with information and requests for our time everywhere we turn, and the bedtime routine often means not remembering when you fell asleep or why you’re covered in a My Little Pony blanket when you wake up to a clock that says 01:25. But we are not too busy for courtesy, particularly the courtesy of responding to a paper invitation (what’s that?!) to a child’s birthday party.
4 out of 21 families from his class bothered to respond to my 7 year old son’s birthday invitation. Now of course I know some parents don’t check backpacks (I found an invite in my son’s bag and responded). Some people might be dealing with some pretty serious life things. And of course, again, I know we’re generally busy. But is this the “new” normal or is this how it’s always been? I can’t ask my mother this question and as in many moments of my parenting life, I wish I could.
My son will have other friends at his party thanks to our Navy family, and he has many wonderful friends in his class, so I know he will be okay. He has no idea about this bleak response rate. But parents, what’s happening to us? We need not say yes to every invitation we receive, but since when did it become MORE okay to not bother to decline an invite properly if for no one else’s sake but maybe the child’s?
I’m not angry for my son and believe it or not, I’m not judging people. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned and even sad for my fellow parents that we are too busy, too tired, or too disorganized to be kind to even our smallest fellow people. I’m often tardy in responding, but I respond. No one, certainly not me, is asking for perfection. But politeness? I’m not too busy for that and if we have become too busy for it, maybe it’s time to rethink some things.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them.